Birmingham and Aston Tramways Co. Ltd. 1882-1904

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The first steam tramway in Birmingham was opened by the Birmingham and Aston Tramways Company on the 26th December 1882.

The 3ft 6ins narrow gauge tramway was constructed under the Birmingham and Aston Tramways Order of 1880 and ran from Aston Street in the town centre (Birmingham did not become a city until 1889) to Witton via Aston Cross, where it diverged – one route travelling via Park Road and Witton Lane and the other via Lichfield Road and Church Lane.

The initial rolling stock consisted of six Kitson locos in a crimson livery and ten Starbuck double-deck trailer cars in cream.

On 23rd February 1885 a branch line to the foot of Gravelly Hill from Lichfield Road was opened, with a connection to Erdington being provided by the Company’s horse buses.

On the 30th June 1902, Aston Manor UDC purchased that portion of the tramway within their boundary in order to electrify it, whilst the remaining section passed to Birmingham Corporation on 1st January 1904 on the expiry of the lease.

FLEET SUMMARY

Locos

YearFleet No.Manufacturer
18821Kitson
18827-8Wilkinson
18832-6Kitson
18839-12Kitson
188513-16Kitson
188617-26Kitson
188627Kitson

Nos. 7-8 out of service by 1889 but still retained.
Rebuilt: 1 (1897 – new boiler), 2 (1898), 5 (1895), 9 (1897), 11-12 (1898 – No. 11 new boiler), 14 (1899), 15 (1897), 16 (1901), 18-19 (1899), 23 (1901), 24 (1900), 25 (1897), 26 (1899), 27 (1899).
To Aston Manor UDC 30th June 1902; all except Nos. 22-23 scrapped 1904.
Nos. 22-23 to City of Birmingham Tramways (Nos. 91-92 in 1904).

Trailer Cars

YearFleet No.TypeManufacturerSeating
18821-10Double-deck
Open-top
4-wheel
Metropolitan Carriage and Wagon Co.24/20
188311-18Double-deck
Canopy-top
bogie
Starbuck32/20
188519-22Double-deck
Canopy-top
bogie
Metropolitan Carriage and Wagon Co.30/30
188623-26Double-deck
Canopy-top
bogie
Starbuck32/30
189610Double-deck
Canopy-top
bogie
Birmingham and Aston Tramway Co.34/34
18978-9Double-deck
Canopy-top
bogie
Birmingham and Aston Tramway Co.34/34
18987Double-deck
Canopy-top
bogie
Birmingham and Aston Tramway Co.34/34
18996Double-deck
Canopy-top
bogie
Birmingham and Aston Tramway Co.34/34

Nos. 1-10 were rebuilt single-ended with half-canopy roof cover before entry into service. Used to construct bogie cars 6-10 in 1896-1899.
Nos. 21-22 rebuilt single-ended and re-seated to 32/30 in 1898.
Nos. 6 (1899), 7 (1898), 8-9 (1897) and 10 (1896) were constructed from Nos. 1-10 of 1882 and were all single-ended.
All trailer cars to Aston Manor UDC 30th June 1902 ; scrapped 1904.


In preparing this history reference has been made to the following sources;
The Directory of British Tramways (Keith Turner, PSL 1996); PSV Circle Fleet History 2PD2 (1979).